Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Farmworkers feel the heat even when they leave the fields

Seed Daily via SPX: Hot weather may be the work environment for the 1.4 million farmworkers in the United States who harvest crops, but new research shows that these workers continue to experience excessive heat and humidity even after leaving the fields.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers conducted a study to evaluate the heat indexes in migrant farmworker housing and found that a majority of the workers don't get a break from the heat when they're off the clock.

Lead author Sara A. Quandt, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest Baptist, said the findings raise concerns about productivity and worker health.

"We found that a majority of the workers are not getting much respite from the heat in the evening," she said. "While we didn't measure direct health outcomes, the research raises concern about worker's health related to dehydration and sleep quality, which can, in turn, impact safety and productivity."...

Dorothea Lange photo of tents for black cotton pickers in Pinal County, Arizona, in 1940

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